Nine West is advertising a pair of its leopard-print pumps as a perfect accessory for “starter husband hunting.”
The ad is part of a new headline-grabbing marketing campaign that also suggests a leather tote bag for the “anticipatory walk of shame” and booties with 4-inch heels to help “Mummy” wipe away “happy-sad tears” as she sends her kids to their first day of kindergarten.
The campaign, which rolled out this month online and in stores, has sparked some outrage among customers who say it’s degrading to women.
“As a professional woman, that’s an offensive campaign based on an outmoded ideal,” Facebook user Caroline Tippens wrote on the company’s page. “Apparently, your marketing team must be comprised of misogynists.”
User Nancy Crichlow added, “If this is your attitude toward your customers, I no longer consider myself one. Really disgusted that my previous purchases of Nine West shoes have enriched the bottom line of a company that has so little respect for its customers.”
A majority of the hundreds of comments on the company’s Facebook page are negative.
Erika Szychowski, Nine West’s senior vice president of marketing, told The New York Times that she expected the campaign to “make noise and get attention.”
“We have to change the way we talk about occasions because women are modern now and shop for a different reason,” Szychowski told the Times.
For Nine West, the risk of offending people with the campaign could be worth the buzz it’s creating for the brand.
“Over the course of the last decade, as we’ve started to have competitors which didn’t exist when we were founded, we lost some of that little sparkle that occurred in someone’s eyes when they talked about the brand,” Szychowski told the Times.
It doesn’t look like the company is planning to take down the ads. They went live on the website on Friday and they were still prominently featured by Wednesday.
Here’s a selection of reactions the campaign from around Twitter:
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